One of the things newer writers worry about most is originality: how can I have an original idea when all the stories have been told.
Today we’re going to do a little exercise to prove that originality is not about the characters, the even the events of the story. Originality comes from you, writing in your voice, as only you can.
Write A Cinderella Story. Share (At Least An Excerpt) In The Comments
- You are the sum of all your experiences in your life to this point. If you’ve only ever lived in one place, you probably don’t realize what a gift that is, because you may think everyone knows the stuff you know. But I don’t know what it was like to grow up in Akron, Ohio. Or Aberdeen, Scotland. Or Brisbane, Australia. I don’t know what it was like to be a Boy Scout. I don’t know what it was like to have a dad who worked a regular 9-5 job. I can only find these things out by reading your words. Your voice is unique. The ideas you have developed through a lifetime of learning and making-connections and being-influenced-by-your-upbringing are ideas only you could have. Your story cannot help but be unique, even if you’re using the framework of the Cinderella story.
- The Cinderalla story has been told and retold and retold and retold. Rags to riches. Unfulfilled to fulfilled. It has been told seriously, comically, as a musical…Tell your version of the story however you want: gender swap poor Cinders; Make the step-mother figure sympathetic; go to town on the ugly-sister antagonist. Whatever works for you today.
- Don’t try to write anything other than a story that delights you. Don’t try to sound like Walt Disney. Don’t worry if your story comes out more grim than Grimm. Write this story your way.
- The reason I’m asking for everyone to share an excerpt in the comments is so that we can all see how very different our stories are, how original they are. Who is going to be brave enough to share first?
How did you write your Cinderella Story? Share part of it in the comments or join the discussion in the community!
15 thoughts on “[Writing Prompt] Your Voice Is Unique”
Making this work within the overarching storyboard/characters I have for my shorts was fun!
“This is, absolutely, the stupidest exercise, Ke…”
Rekka couldn’t finish, interrupted rather ferociously by a hissed whisper, “Code names! Remember?”
She huffed an exasperated breath and restated her comment, “This is, absolutely, the stupidest exercise, Prince Charming. Satisfied?”
“Yes. Cinderella, I am. Now keep your guard up.”
They separated and circled the gala deck, each on a different side, passing each assigned check point and designated exit. She couldn’t understand their superior’s choice for initiating a simulation during an actual event. It was nearly unheard of.
She closely watched the attendees, all Board members and their circle of family and associates. Dignitaries in the form of ship officers were also present, all dressed impeccably—making her feel pretty shabby in her undercover outfit. She hadn’t expected to attend the event in anything other than her security uniform. There wasn’t enough time to procure something nicer.
Here’s what I came up with: http://guptacarlsonshortstories.blogspot.com/2014/05/on-uphill.html
Here’s an excerpt from mine:
Marisa really didn’t know what to do. She felt horrible for Cindy. No child should have to go through the things she had gone through. Her mother’s vanishing act, which Cindy never spoke of but that must hurt her a great deal. Marisa couldn’t imagine what would possess a mother to do that, to just leave and never try to contact your child again. Cindy was seventeen now. It had been fifteen years since that good-for-nothing woman walked out the door.
The whole story is here: https://storyaday.org/moniquec/2014/05/14/may-14-cindy/
To Capture the World
It was the raucous cawing of crows that woke her. Her eyes flew open and she found herself staring straight up to heaven. Memory slowly invaded her consciousness and she let out a low wrenching moan. She had lost it all; the house, the car, the money, gone. She’d had no choice but to run away. To stay would have meant the death of her soul.
Feeling around in the soft pine needles beneath her she located the black leather bag containing the only thing she couldn’t leave behind, her camera. It was the Nikon her father had given her the year he died. She remembered his words as her placed it in her outstretched hands, “With this you can capture the world.”
She left her step-father’s villa before dawn and ran until the sun was a glowing ball in the sky and the heat was making her nauseous. The little stand of pines provided relief and protection but she hadn’t intended to fall asleep. She wasn’t afraid, no one would come looking for her; in fact they probably wouldn’t even know she was gone for at least a week.
I started my piece after the fairytale wedding.
Another command performance at the mansion. These dinners grew more tedious as the years went on, but they were a small price to pay for ensuring her family was well fed and secure. Vivian assumed that Cindy’s husband did not cut them off to keep the newspapers from running a story of the destitute in-laws while the man in charge hosted lavish parties. Cindy certainly would have punished them for their treatment of her before her fairytale wedding.
Vivian swallowed her jealousy and her what-ifs as she knocked on the door. She pointed to the last minute adjustments her daughters needed to make in their clothes. Paparazzi got a few shots of them from over the bushes, and she mentally checked the last few seconds to ensure that none of the pictures would be vulgar. The rules were simple: come to dinner and do not embarrass the hand that fed them. Jason was at least a reasonable man.
The door opened, and Cindy acknowledged them without a smile. She was still in her robe, hand clutching it around her neck.
“Only by fifteen minutes. We can wait in the car, if you would like. There are only, I think, three cameras out there tonight.”
Cindy sighed and opened the door wider. They entered the foyer and turned right to go into the parlor.
“Jason will be down in a minute. No servants tonight; it will just be us.” She was halfway up the stairs by the time she finished speaking, and the three women sat down to wait for their hosts. Vivian mentally prepared herself. No servants meant that Cindy was going to order her and her daughters to do things. The house smelled of fresh bread and pork roast. They would earn that meal tonight.
The rest is at http://lostandfoundthrufiction.com/2014/05/14/cinderella/.
excerpt from Cinderella-type story The Amplifier
In slippers, T-shirt, and a pink towel, Kelly ran from her apartment to the mailroom and flipped on the light. She reached into her mailbox, pushing her quivering hand all the way into its black depth, fingering the cold metal like a spider pursuing a nonexistent fly.
Dammit! Where is the effing mail?
The old-doll had promised to send $1,000—despite dear old Dad, who hijacked the call, offering his two cents on freeloaders, the family orchard, frost, bad apples, yadda, yadda, yadda
“Why the hell are you still hitting me up for money?” he asked. “I’m not running a goddamned charity.”
“I thought I was talking to Mom,” said Kelly, “but thanks for your concern.”
Thank God her band, Crotch Rot, was opening tonight for the Phantom Trolls, a big deal in Toronto’s heavy metal scene. The gig would put her in front of the right people—finally—industry dudes who could kickstart her career.
All good, but Kelly had pawned her amplifier to cover the rent, and needed $500 to get it out of hawk. Where could she get that much scratch on short notice?
She wasn’t about to ask Lance, the lead singer who seduced her into joining the band. He had been treating her like a horse’s ass for the past week—stand-offish, almost passive aggressive—ever since she asked him pitch in some cash for condoms.
Calling Mom again would be too painful . . . which left Wanda, quite possibly the least desirable source of cash imaginable.
She lit a joint and told herself this is just a blip on the road to fame and riches. A stone to be stepped over, as it were. Grovelling was expected in her line of work, perhaps even cherished. Something they called paying your dues.
. . .
Ok, anyone having any doubts that each voice is unique now? 🙂
Nope — and loving ’em all!
I’m never afraid to share because it’s how we all learn. My story is called “One in 1,001 Helixes” and starts with these graphs:
Prince Charmin (having dropped the “g” because he found it superfluous) ruled Plush Island, situated between Corsica and Porquerolles. Tonight, he knew he would meet his future wife. And he had prepared himself for the inevitable. He learned from wayfaring sailors that princes in other kingdoms had had some troublesome dealings with potential princesses at gregarious balls held in their fathers’ castles. Prince Charmin wouldn’t allow that to happen to him. He was pushing 25 and needed to start settling down and planning for his kingdom’s future by having as many children as he could.
Oh, those stories fascinated him. Princes who snatched a glove while the bronze lady dashed away into the evening’s haze, not sure what bacchanal theories swam in their sober heads. Or princes who dared asked her name rather than wait for a proper introduction, but what good was it to dance with such a prize and not know what wonderments hid in secret compartments shielded by a mere name. Or the prince in Pellworm who casually tripped his golden beauty and snatched her lost crystal slipper. But who really wanted to take months and employ dozens only to run into dead ends or to realize that what the prince saw in shimmering lights looked vague and ruined his superficial visions.
But who really wants to learn on his wedding night that the reality behind the facade isn’t as pleasing as a dream? This is why Prince Charmin made decrees that those who came to his balls should appear as naturally as they did at birth. If the prince didn’t want to hide his forehead scar from a childhood riding accident, why should anyone else be afraid to showcase and feel blessed about their imperfections.
You can read the rest at http://storiesbystolle.wordpress.com/2014/05/14/storyaday-14 by using the password stollewords.
I love the idea of him dropping the “g”. Very hip hop (which probably ages me).
And I love the sky allusions to other tales.
I hesitated to even do that because it would sound a little kitschy, but it does have a hip-hop flavor too it (although as I like to point out to people, dropping the “g” from a word has been done long before it’s been somewhat stereotypically considered an African-American thing, meaning that white folks have and do do it too). I just had a lot of fun writing this story. 🙂
I’m giggling thinking about a certain toilet paper brand.
What ever could you mean? Ha! 🙂
The one linking to the discussion in the community?
You have to be logged in to the community. Were you?
Thanks for letting me know!
The link on the prompt page won’t work, ma’am. 🙂